Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

Real news for working families.  An online newspaper


What's the 'State Of The State' of Florida?
It depends on who you listen to.  

TALLAHASSEE, FL - Hearing Governor Rick Scott and his critics last week was like listening to the start of a famous Charles Dickens tale - and whether this is the "best of times" or the "worst of times" depends on who's doing the talking. 

Scott told the opening session of the Florida Legislature that his first year in office was the best of times.

"In the past year, Floridians - not government - created almost 135,000 new, private-sector jobs. So, we netted more than 120,000 total jobs in the first eleven months of 2011."

The Florida AFL-CIO sees it differently, citing unemployment at a persistent 10 percent rate, with thousands of teachers and law enforcement personnel laid off. They characterize Scott's first year as the "worst of times" for Florida.

AFL-CIO spokesman Rich Templin points out that Governor Scott now has a 26 percent approval rating, making him the most unpopular governor in the country.

"What the Governor needs to really do is abandon these failed policies of 'no regulation,' continually cutting services, and cutting the things people in Florida really rely on, as a way to create jobs."

Governor Scott says he wants $1 billion of new education spending. His critics point out that it won't make up for the $2.7 billion that was cut from education in the past year. And he wants to trim $2 billion from Medicaid for low-income seniors to free up the new money for education, a move that two out of three Floridians have said they don't agree with.

Scott's speech is on YouTube, at www.youtube.com. A transcript is also online, at stateline.org

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